Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Four Down, Four to Go

M had a rampaging, royal, on-a-scale-of-one-to-ten a fifteen meltdown today.

It's been coming since the first day of school. M has serious sensory issues, affecting everything from her ability to use the restroom (she doesn't like something about urinating, for instance, and works herself up into a frenzy when she has to "go") to her ability to focus and get her work done.

She has been slowly escalating each and every day, as more demands are placed upon a sensory system that is in no way able to handle anything more than just a desperate bid to stay calm. The tools we had in class were just not sufficient for her.

Hopefully, the tools the OTs brought for her -- her pressure vest, a weighted blanket (bigger and heavier than the weighted lap pad we were using last year), and actual instructions about what to use in combination with what (imagine that) -- will help.

Of course, she, too, suggested brushing. This is an OT-created technique wherein you use a special brush on a child's arms and legs, and then give joint compressions. It's supposed to be very good.


As I have told every OT that has suggested this, our program specialist SBS -- who spent a lot of time in M's old classroom a couple years ago -- said specifically never to brush M because she, and I quote, "climbs the ceiling."

Not the usual idiom "climbs the wall."

She climbs the ceiling.

Now, I am aware that kids' sensory needs and issues change over time. M was not at all keen on the pressure vest at the beginning of last year (nor was E.) -- however, that was because it had been being used punitively, as a punishment, and both girls equated it with that. Once it became a routine -- she wears it first thing every day, after recess, and after lunch -- and that stigma was removed, she was fine with it.

So, my request has always been, "If you want me to brush M, fine. But you have to do it the first time since you're the OT and might actually have ways of calming her down if it does indeed send her into Spider Girl Mode."

We shall see.

Girl J. had a bit of a run-in with Aide J. this morning, and given Girl J.'s speech, I'm not 100% sure she really said what Aide J. says she said...but she was already in trouble for not lining up with the class, so meh.

Besides, Aide J. somehow managed to deal with M. in full meltdown mode and E. (who does not share people well) without a scratch.


So she gets the benefit of the doubt today.

And possibly chocolate.

Meanwhile, as I try to supervise the class (though when the OTs came I switched activities to one that was small-group oriented) because Aide K. is not the brightest candle in the inn and somehow didn't notice M. climbing on the bookcase two feet to her left (as in, standing on top of it and squealing), R. is slowly melting because Aide K. is not paying any attention to him even though he needs the help she's giving Boy J. way more than Boy J. does.

Fun fun.

The good news is, I asked the office which staff (Aide D. or Aide K.) was permanent and which was doing the long-term sub, and although the permanent one is K., our office manager said she might try and transfer her because the other teacher she works with has also reported that she's "weak."

The fact of the matter is, I could have lived with "weak" last year. "Weak" could have taken J., R., or A., to science class, or worked with any of the three of them plus E. (Scissor Girl) in class. "Weak" just can't fly in the class I have this year.

However...drum roll please...Boy A stayed on "green" all day! He was very proud of himself.

In other news, the new Apple product announcements today ("new" Shuffle -- just new colors -- new Nano, iPod Classic, and iPod Touch -- an iPhone without the phone and double the storage space) would cause me serious dilemmas if I wasn't more or less certain I will have to buy the Kinesis keyboard I spoke of earlier.

While I was very perturbed that the Shuffle was available in a pretty shade of blue a few months after I bought my original silver 2nd generation (not the stick shaped white one, though I had one of those too), the new Shuffles today are just more new colors. Big whoop.

As for the Nano -- I can't imagine watching a lot of video on such a small screen, but for music videos it might be nice. I've never been really enamored of the Nano, though, because I have a huge iTunes library.

Now, the iPod Classic -- true to its name, it looks just like my 5th generation 60 gig video iPod -- is tempting, but only for the increased storage. As I said, between lots of videos and lots of self-made audiobooks (I use a program called iSpeakIt to convert text of stories I've liked -- several of which are very, very long -- to speech), my library is already more or less at the 160 GB size of the larger Classic. Although it's annoying managing my library now -- picking and choosing videos and such -- I see no reason to buy an iPod that will be full the moment I first sync'll be back to annoyingly having to select videos manually, the way it is now.

And, the iPod Touch. Oh, is it gorgeous. An iPhone without the phone. But the thing is...I have an iPhone. An 8 GB one (which is, as of today, $200 less than what I paid for it mere months ago -- boo). The Touch is availble in 8 GB and 16 GB. Do I really want to spent a few hundred dollars more for a few more hours of video? Not really. I sync (and charge) my iPhone every night, so I am constantly changing which videos are on it.

The thing is -- I want the best of both worlds. I want the Touch's awesome UI and beautiful screen with the Classic's large capacity. My guess is, that'll be a few generations down the road yet. Now, I push my 5th gen pretty hard, and if it should die before the two lines merge into (hopefully) a Touch with Classic sized capacity, I would probably buy a Classic for space. I have my shuffle and my iPhone for more specific things.

See, what I love about iPods -- what I've always loved, having the attention span of a gnat when it comes to music -- is having all of my music on hand at once. So if the spirit moves me to listen to "You Belong to Me" from Shrek and then the main title from Stargate and then "Yeroushalahim Shel Zahav" from Schindler's List, it's all there. I won't have had to anticipate that random connection of musical inspriation and have the appropriate files on the appropriate device. It's just there.

Ditto videos, really. Who's to say that halfway through "Arthur's Mantle" (SG-1) I won't decide I want to watch a History Channel Presents?

So, here's to a long life and prosperity for my iPod.

Also, if anyone has read this far, am I the only one who expects Allison Janney (formerly of The West Wing) to say Kaiser wants us to live long and prosper and is constantly startled when she says we should thrive instead?


Amie said...

Reading your blog is a constant reminder that you are way smarter than me!

SpooWriter said...

Not that I believe that's true (betcha you understand f-stops way more than I do, for instance) but...was it the OT ramblings or the iPod ramblings? ;-)

Amie said...

Both I think. I don't know...I just sat and read the whole thing and then had to take a deep breath. :)

I have only one iPod and to tell you the truth I don't know what generation it is or anything but it does the tasks I require of it very nicely. :) I did however, play with someones iPhone this past weekend and was actually very impressed. That says a lot because I didn't think I cared AT ALL about it.

Anyway, f-stops aside we BOTH know that you are, in fact, WAY smarter than me :) Don't worry, I'm ok with it.

Oh and you never told me what kind of SLR you should do that...

also, I'm a big baseball fan and all...but I think you should get their salary and they should get yours. I don't know how you do your job.

SpooWriter said...

I have a Canon Rebel...the original one (before the XT -- I don't remember if it had funky letters in the name too or if it was just the Rebel).

I won't argue the smart thing any more than to say one thing I've learned as I grew up is that smart without real world skills means very little.

I never paid attention to what "generation" my iPods were either, until I got the one I have now -- "fifth gen" became so synonymous with "video" that it got drilled into my head.

I bought my original 10 gig one before flying back east for my grandma's funeral...I wanted something to distract myself with. Then I bought my second 40 gig one the year I started teaching 'cause my library was an astonishing 15 gigabytes. ;-)

I bought the video one in a splurge of technogeek lust when it came out and play VIDEO! ;-) (Actually, it's great for trips...most hotels have TVs with front inputs and I can avoid lousy cable that way.)

I got a shuffle when they first came out to use as much as a jump drive as a music player. My 2nd generation shuffle (the little clip on kind) is my Podcast iPod....

Plus my iPhone, of course. I have expensive hobbies (and I haven't even bought the wide-angle lens I want yet ;-)).

SpooWriter said...

Oh, and -- I appreciate the sentiment. The job can be hard sometimes, but it's lots of fun too.

I survive days like the last few days on sheer stubbornness. Everyone thinks it's patience, but it's just me engaging my inner "I am the teacher and you will do what I say"! ;-)